Release day Book Review: Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

Imagine This: You are in your late twenties and already your life is perfect. With your adorable nerdy husband who never cleans up after using the kitchen, or washing away his pubic hair in the tub after shaving, or messing up his clothes you’ve neatly folded and ignoring them, you could really say your life is what you’ve hoped for. But it’s almost perfect. Because even though you have a dog, you don’t have kids.

But no big deal, the kids would come after you both finish your PhDs in a few months’ time. It’s not like you haven’t got all the time in the world. Plus you would have more alone time together than newlyweds to engage in all the romance in the world before a baby comes in and shatters everything.

Except Cancer is a step ahead before the baby. Cancer you beat three years ago. Cancer who’s proving to never give up. And this time Cancer has not only taking over your boobs but your entire body too. Chemo or radiation is no use.

You are dying in four to six months.

This has not been the moment you’ve been waiting for all your life, but if dying in six months isn’t the Universe’s way of telling you to carpe diem, what else is then? Except you cannot leave because this is real life, and you don’t just bolt.

You are all your husband has and if you pass away, he will be so helpless and lonely and probably wither away too. So you’ve got to stay.

At least, if not to fight this disease, find your husband a wife before he has no one to clean up after him.

Daisy Richmond’s moving dilemma summed up for your delight.

I loved, loved this book so much you know in my review I’d be throwing bricks in your direction till you run off and go get it.

Fantastic storyline! Girl is dying in six months, Girl puts an effort into living life normally as though there was no cancer, Girl wondering how her husband would cope if she dies, Girl vowing to find her husband a wife if it’s the last thing she does. Beautiful! I mean, how can you go wrong with a cancerous tale having this plot? A star to the storyline. ──

You would love Daisy, the heroine. I adored her voice. It’s sort of that funny memoir-esque voice. That brilliant bloggy voice that makes you feel the speaker is communicating directly to you and only you. Sort of a celebrity auto-biographical voice (think, Amy Poehler? Nah, too funny. Joan Rivers? Nah, too bitchy and biographical. Chelsea Handler? No, too raunchy and inappropriate. Colleen Oakley? Just the right person!) you pick up and instantly reels you in. I love the way she (Daisy) goes on about random stuff and relates it to her ‘Lots of Cancer’ in clever ways that surprise you. How she clings on to her boobs even though doctors advise it’s a losing battle. Her degrees in psychology also make her point-of-view so insightful it’s not hard to pick up lots of important, moving lessons. You could even hate daisies as much as I do and still warm up to her. It’s a plus she hates Sarah McLachlan too! I loved her. A star. ── ★★

The supporting cast in this title are also amazing. There’s Daisy’s mom who’s not your ideal cancer-patient-sitter for being a constant crier. There’s Kayleigh, the friend who doesn’t mind she’s not an overachiever and even an underachiever at all, balancing her time between teaching kindergarten kids, dating nineteen year olds and being super-supportive to our lead in the weirdest ways. You would also take a liking to Jack, the scatter-brain husband who always forgets to make reservations for the cancerversary nights yet is so adorable and present even though our lead is being difficult sometimes. There’s also PW17 on checkmate.com who seems like the perfect wife for Jack. Oh, and my favourite, one Dr. Patrick who’s a respiratory therapist and sometimes forgets the respiratory part to give crappy advice to his patients. Fabulous characters. ── ★★★

Now if I am writing this review. There lots of things I’d leave out for my ego sake. Like the intervals between which I slammed this book down to take control of my tear ducts. Like the laughter through tears for when our lead makes a funny comment. Or twitching uncomfortably for fear that suddenly I might be declared having six months more to live and not bearing our lead’s gusto for life. All these achieved through Colleen’s excellent portrayal of the themes of loss, ailment and trying so hard to stick to your normal routine even though you know you might be dying within days. ── ★★★★

Humour plays a major part in this title to draw in the reader. Not too over-the-top to render this book comic and losing its edge to communicate its dense, emotional themes. The humour is so laidback you relax into this title and wonder when cancer became this soothing. Mostly, I’d ‘Ha-ha’ then fall back in line when I go on to the next line and see, dying. ── ★★★★★

My rating is definitely a five/five stars. (Very abnormal for lots of debuts but Colleen is a star!)

Before I Go, Colleen Oakley’s sensational debut is available for grabs on amazon today.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to start their New Year with something moving, dense and funny. Anyone who is a cancer survivor or not could pick this title and totally relate to it. Anyone who just wants to be reminded life shouldn’t be lived wasted without, the ones you love and the things you love.

I still dream about this book.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.


  1. I was extremely impressed that the author managed to take such a difficult subject and not make me a total emotional mess while reading it. It really was not what I would call a sad book, given what it is about. I really liked it (4 stars) as well.

  2. Wow, Kobby! You really make this debut novel sound FANTASTIC! Go go Colleen Oakley!!!!!